The Art of Being Offended

It’s damned near impossible to say or do anything these days without publicly offending someone or some group. Being offended has almost become a preferred pastime.

Sixteen year old Miley Cyrus, goofing around with some friends including an asian girl were filmed slanting their eyes. It gets shown on the internet and incurs the wrath of at least one asian group which accuses her of “mocking and denigrating individuals of Asian descent”.

J.J. Rowling, while accepting an award in France feels compelled to apologize for giving the  arch villain in her Harry Potter series – Lord Voldemort – a french name.

Back in 2004 Conan O’Brien did his Late Night Show in Canada and did a bit with Triumph the Insult Dog that offended the Quebec government and had Canadian media people as well as the Premier of Ontario and a federal government spokesperson apologizing to all and sundry. It was Triumph the Insult Dog – a sock puppet – for gods sake!

The Indo-Canadian community was offended when Prime Minister Harper actually made an apology for an incident that happened back in 1914. Harpers offense was that he didn’t make the apology in Parliament.

Prime Minister harper also got crapped on for saying in a speech, “What we have found is that while regional development agencies can go off the reservation — can go in some bad directions — they also tend to be pretty good compared to most federal bureaucracies at actually having a handle on what local development needs really are.” Of course the use of the word  reservation’ apparently offended aboriginals.

The examples are legion, but the one that I love most is the County Commissioner in Texas who was attacked for making racist remarks when he said that “central collections “has become a black hole” because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.”

It seems that there are a large number of of professional offendees lurking out there just waiting for something that will allow them to rise up in righteousness proclaiming to the world how they or their particular constituency has been slighted, wronged, insulted and emotionally damaged.

In Canada we have even taken it further with our Human Rights Tribunal which attempted to prosecute Ezra Levant for publishing what have been referred to as the Danish Cartoons in his magazine the Western Standard and Macleans magazine for printing an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone all because it was believed to be offensive to Muslims.

Not only do we seem to have lost our sense of humour, we have lost our sense of balance. In situations where the Human Rights Tribunals have become involved truth is apparently no defence. You can be right but you’re still wrong.

Obviously there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, but that line has become increasingly blurred.

It appears that we have elevated our ability to be offended to an art form.


And then there is the basketball coach in Texas whose team walloped their opponents by a score of 100-0 and who was excoriated for allowing that to happen and who was fired because he would not apologize “for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.”

It even happens in the golf world.

LPGA golfer/model Anna Rawson has apologized for any offense she may have given in an interview in Australia where she said:

“The tour has got so much better with so many young stars and great players,” Rawson told the radio station in an interview arranged by her father Jim.

“But the mentality unfortunately amongst the media and the industry hasn’t changed.

“They still think we’re at 25 years ago when the tour was full of, you know, a lot of dykes and unattractive females nobody wanted to watch.”

Well yeah, that’s probably true, but dammit you’re not supposed to say it out loud.


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2 Responses to “The Art of Being Offended”

  1. Zach Says:

    We live in a time where many people feel that it is necessary to cry to the media (who gives them the air times, print space etc.)about every single thing that could possibly be considered even a little bit derogatory or offensive. The lighter you try to tread the more they seem to get offended. This is one case where I couldn’t agree with you more.

  2. bluntobject Says:

    Well said.

    We reward offendedness, so we see more of it. What’s worse, we’ve lost the original context — actively harmful bigotry with clear harm and clear victims, those “lines that shouldn’t be crossed” — in a flood of copycats who want a piece of the action.

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